La Niña? Maybe-Maybe Not

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson November 16, 2016 09:49 Updated


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Back in March of this year, I posted an article the explained the differences between El Niño and La Niña.  If you want a refresher on these two weather patterns, I found another short video that explains the effects of El Niño and La Niña:

Many of us have been wondering what this winter will be like, and much of what I’ve heard is that after some mild seasons, the folks up here in the Midwest will be experiencing colder temperatures and snow fall that we are more accustomed to seeing.  This is all due to the La Niña weather pattern.  But Illinois climatologist Dr. Jim Angel says that at this point, there’s a 55% chance that La Niña will change the weather here.  In his words:

I’ts not a slam dunk that we’re going to have a La Niña.  It’s actually a little bit of a question mark.

So what does this weather pattern mean for places outside of the Midwest?  Warmer temperatures and increased precipitation.  Active weather patterns are typically the norm, and that means more snowfall but not necessarily bitter cold temps.

As far as growers are concerned, there are some consequences surrounding these warmer conditions because the the soil may not freeze thoroughly:

  • Unlikely winter kill:  Angel says pests and invasive species have a better chance of surviving in milder winters.
  • Less loose soil: Without a lot of freezing and thawing we lose out on soil loosening which breaks down compaction.
  • Fertilizer movement: Warmer winters reduce the chances of fall-applied fertilizer staying in place – especially warmer, wet winters (the worst combination).

Kenny Miller of MDA Weather Services feels threats should be low for wheat with the milder-than-average temps in the central plains and Midwest.  He believes December will be wetter across the central and southern plains, western Midwest, and the southeast, improving moisture for hard red wheat.

Angel hesitates before using the words, but he can’t deny that global warming has greatly increased the probability that winter temperatures will keep moving towards the warmer side.  The World Meteorological Organization just released it’s latest global climate report reporting that the world’s warmest 5-year period on global records occurred from 2011-2015:  He goes on to say that the chances of getting really cold winters are becoming less likely to happen.


Time will tell…

-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team



Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson November 16, 2016 09:49 Updated
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